Vengevine Monster Truck


Vengevine ∙ Joining the Dark Side ∙ Good Old Bloodbraid Elf
A decided lack of Blightning ∙ Countersquall ∙ … and Vengevine!


Yeah, yeah yeah… The old man qualified!

Grixis Hits! Countersquall! Just like we promised.

My basic metagame diagnosis is that if Grixis is good, it is the best deck in Standard (play my 75… Though you may want to switch out Duress for Thought Hemorrhage * in place of Duress, for Vengevine). However it is possible that the success of control in general (including Grixis Hits, which is at the top of the control deck pyramid) will incentivize players to run more beatdown… Red Decks, Vengevine decks, etc.

So here is my take:

Vengevine Monster Truck

2 Malakir Bloodwitch

4 Bloodbraid Elf
4 Putrid Leech
4 Sarkhan the Mad
4 Sprouting Thrinax

4 Borderland Ranger
4 Lotus Cobra
4 Vengevine

4 Cunning Sparkmage

1 Dragonskull Summit
1 Evolving Wilds
3 Forest
3 Mountain
4 Raging Ravine
4 Savage Lands
2 Scalding Tarn
3 Swamp
1 Terramorphic Expanse
4 Verdant Catacombs

1 Island
2 Malakir Bloodwitch
2 Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker
1 Recurring Insight
4 Sedraxis Specter
1 Thought Hemmorhage
4 Vampire Nighthawk

This deck obviously borrows, strategically from GerryT’s Naya deck… All guys. All guys leads to all Vengevine triggers. Your Bloodbraid Elf always flips over a creature, setting up big Vengevine attacks, &c.

Weird things: No Blightning. No copies of my favorite card. Not a creature. Who is avoiding the random Bloodbraid Elf flip!?! Is this bizarro world?

Yet we have Sarkhan the Mad. He is your spell. This card is very strong. Stronger than I originally thought. Yes, it gives you a Countersquall target in a deck that can’t otherwise Blightning away Countersqualls. It is also not a creature; it is possible that Broodmate Dragon would be a better choice… But I think not enough people are playing Countersquall right now (certainly very few on MTGO). I have been doing quite well with this Jund, and I think it might be a deck.

Card rundown:

Bloodbraid Elf
Yep, still the strongest creature in Standard. Absolutely perfect in this deck, in particular for its ability to flip up Cunning Sparkmage.

Borderland Ranger
Awesome v. other Jund (trades with their Bloodbraid Elf without a loss of card advantage); you hit your land drops… Very good with Lotus Cobra, of course; nice blocker.

Cunning Sparkmage
Awesome against Mythic (albeit less awesome than a deck with Basilisk Collar); a fabulous main deck card against Polymorph.

Lotus Cobra
Just the right accelerator in this style of deck. Good with Vengevine and Bloodbraid Elf for the two-to-four jump; respectable front side for a two drop; good with the sideboard.

Malakir Bloodwitch
Because people play decks that can’t deal with it.

Putrid Leech
Still the scariest offensive two drop in Standard. One of the things I like about this deck is that it plays kind of like the West Coast Plated Geopede deck… Two different offensive two drops; better mana utilization than most versions of Jund, therefore.

Sprouting Thrinax
I would play Vampire Nighthawk starting in this spot… But its synergy with “your spell” is just out of control.

The whole point of the deck. Hi-yah!

I don’t know if this deck is better than either GerryT’s deck or a regular Jund deck… But it seems to be winning plenty for me online. Sideboard is kind of loose right now, but I think there are some good ideas.

Recurring Insight is the biggest beating of them all; its presence is kind of predicated on the idea that the opponent is going to semi-manascrew you with Spreading Seas. You can cast it fine with Lotus Cobra, and, say, a Scalding Tarn for Island (thank you Lotus Cobra).

Nicol Bolas is your Cruel Ultimatum. Basically I really wanted to cast Cruel Ultimatum but this deck obviously can’t muster such a profligate mana cost… Nicol Bolas seems like the next best thing. We’ll see how it bears out.


* Separately suggested by Osyp over the phone and Verno on Magic Online

facebook comments:


#1 Gifts Ungiven on 05.18.10 at 8:45 pm

I have had a tremendous lack of luck with Nicol Bolas. He feels as if he should be an easier-to-cast, incremental Cruel Ultimatum…and then someone takes him out with an O-Ring, Pulse, or Purge after he aces out one permanent. Eight mana to suck up a Celestial Purge did not end up testing out as a good use of a card slot.

#2 GerryT on 05.18.10 at 9:28 pm

I support this product.

Any love for Wrapter’s Geopedes or are you happy with the amount of two drops you have now?

Not a huge fan of quad Borderland Ranger, but I know you love that card.

Thoughts on a couple Collars in the sideboard?

Nighthawk stinks imo.

#3 Brightbo on 05.18.10 at 10:04 pm

You could probably get away with some number (like 4) of Ancient Ziggurats in that Jund list. Sarkhan is your only noncreature spell, and not casting him on turn 5 is a real concern, but I don’t think Jund wants for power but consistency. Plus cobras should help get you there.

#4 admin on 05.18.10 at 10:10 pm

@Gifts Ungiven
Good comments… I think Nicol Bolas is probably too cute. Goblin Ruinblaster is more synergistic with the deck’s plan, and far easier to play.

Thanks! Means a lot… I tried Plated Geopede (early synergies with Borderland Ranger, which made the cut); wasn’t consistent in this deck. There is a big difference with Geopede when you can move aside a blocker.

Great suggestion! Those are going right in.

I am going to re-vamp the sideboard…

More with Master of the Wild Hunt, Great Sable Stag; less with the crazy out of plan cards. Thanks everybody!

#5 Frenchy on 05.18.10 at 11:24 pm

#1 please stop stroking Venge’s vine until I purchase my playset!! 🙂
#2 BL Ranger is good, Ondu Giant may just be better since you are running cobra?

Off topic

#3, I have dreams of Splinter Twin being ‘broked’ soon, Hagra Diabolist/Halimar Excavator/Doppelganger, Conquering Manticor, Bogardan Smellkite….. Veteran reflexes….Your thoughts?

#4 Would you consider a Knotvine Paladin / Whispersilk Cloak / Spawn generator / Mammoth Umbra deck? Possibly Bant Flavored with Stoic angel for opponent control? Probably too much magical not enough christmasland.

#6 MTGBattlefield on 05.19.10 at 1:01 am

Vengevine Monster Truck…

Your story has been summoned to the battlefield – Trackback from MTGBattlefield…

#7 Mandos on 05.19.10 at 2:24 am

Interesting,before we can even grasp the idea of meta switching to full U/W tapout and U/r/W walkers (plus the usual jund) you come in with a devastating grixis deck and before we could even grasp the cards and do enough playtest for grixis you are moving forward (like a real innovator) and post the next thing that you think will happen if ppl keep playing control…AGGRO!I like the idea but we will have to see if our meta turns this way or a gpt/PT will!
On a side note you have mentioned extensively the vampires deck (many times about mind sludge,bloodwitch,gatekeeper and nighthack but still…).You even said that you will try vamps or grixis for national qualifiers.
Anyway just wanted to ask you since I admire your constructive skills and have been reading you for quite some time now what do u think a good vampire deck could be this time?control oriented?aggro?mid range?I really liked the advice from your friend about playing the BEST cards of standard btw!I am very eager to read your comments on this…keep doing what you do best mike!

#8 Alfrebaut on 05.19.10 at 3:34 pm

I might be crazy, but I still don’t like Sarkhan. Maybe lose the Thrinaxes and Sarkhans for Vampires and Specters? Between Ziggurats, opposing Spreading Seas and Elf flips, I think they’d be fine even in the main. Plus, they’re almost like Blightning. Well, okay, maybe nowhere near as good, but in a creature-only deck, it’s as good as you could get.

#9 akfox on 05.19.10 at 10:38 pm

Congratulations on Q’ing for Nats! Perhaps this is that beginning of the road which leads to Michael Flores, World Champion.

#10 ADH on 05.20.10 at 2:54 am

It’s been a while since I tried, but I remember losing 100% of the games in which I managed to resolve Nicol Bolas. I agree with the others that suggest dropping him for something a bit more down to earth.

I think Sarkhan the Mad is a cool card that can be a powerful engine in a variety of different kinds of decks, but I don’t see playing him in a jund colored deck that doesn’t have Broodmate Dragons to occasionally make him a nice big burn spell.

Also agreed with everyone on Ancient Ziggurat. Ziggurat seems to me to be one of the main advantages of playing an all creature deck, even more so than consistently recurring VV. I’m not even sure how much you need to go all creatures just for VV. Do you really expect to need to bring him out of the graveyard so often that you can drop Blightning and removal? If so, why not do something crazy like play Rotting Rats (and Bloodghast? Or other Unearth guys?) so you can be sure to have VVs in the bin to bring out?

Does anyone else like the idea of using Kor Skyfisher as a one-card way of triggering VV? For 2WW can you play it, have it bounce itself, play it again and bounce it again. Two creature spells, VV comes out. And you can do the same thing next turn, forever. Sure, one would rather bounce and replay Wall of Omens or something so you get a card and a 2/3 flier, but with an empty board and hand or against a deck without Path or O-ring… I’m just saying. Maybe once BBE and Ranger rotate, Skyfisher will become the main engine to recur Vengevine.

#11 Averman004 on 05.20.10 at 6:18 am

Given the high conversion rate of the Vengevine Naya deck during the Nationals Qualifiers tournaments (“high” considering how many people actually knew of the deck and played it) and given how pumped the article writing community is about this deck, I am inclined to think that at upcoming major standard tournaments like this weekend’s Grand Prix, Vengevine decks playing copious amounts of creatures and little to no actual spells are going to be the “it decks.”

If we are looking at a Grand Prix metagame of U/W Control, U/W/r Planeswalkers, Vengevine Naya (and maybe even Jund in the style you presented here) with smatterings of other decks like RDW and Polymorph, is a Runeflare Trap deck like Robert Shilander’s an extremely good call? It seems like there is potential for a lot of easy wins there….

Specifially commenting on the deck you proposed: has any thought been given to maindecking Sedraxis Specter and an island? In my testing with Jund I am finding that Specter is coming in far more often than not, and I am finding it more and more difficult to resist making him a main deck card,

#12 Kha on 05.20.10 at 10:07 am

Wouldn’t just sideboarding in some Prophetic Prisms and actually casting your spells as normal be better than bringing in the blue splash and fudging your manabase even more?

#13 worm333 on 05.20.10 at 11:18 am

Despite it seeing 0 play, I maintain that Jund should play a tuk tuk the explorer or two to stop oncoming vengevines until you get the dragon factory online. If it sucks people can laugh at me, but I am running him.

#14 Five With Flores » Something Borrowed; Something Blue; and Linvala, Keeper of Silence; too! on 05.25.10 at 11:02 pm

[…] Jace, the Mind Sculptor ∙ … and Linvala, Keeper of Silence So with all the hubbub about Vengevine last weekend (and did anyone notice a deck that was a few cards off of what we posted made Top 8? I […]

#15 Five With Flores » Cautiously Whelmed by Thrun, the Last Troll on 01.23.11 at 8:09 am

[…] will likely make room in the curve, though it is unclear whether Thun gets played over, say, a Vengevine. My intuition is that decks that want a Vengevine will still want a Vengevine, but that there can […]

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